The Mole People: Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City

by Jennifer Toth | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 155652241x Global Overview for this book
Registered by msjoanna of Columbia, Missouri USA on 3/12/2007
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by msjoanna from Columbia, Missouri USA on Monday, March 12, 2007
This was a fascinating book. I wish the writing had been a little better, but it was good enough to make me read through it quickly.

From Amazon:

In "The Mole People" Jennifer Toth tells the story of the New York City homeless who have taken up residence in the subway tunnels and sub-basements of Manhatten. In clear, eloquent prose, Toth introduces the reader to the genuinely surreal existence of people who live out much of their lives in dark, man-made catacombs. With both the eye of a scientist and the compassion of a concerned human being, Toth examines what has driven these people underground, and how it is they exist in such an environment.
This book is astonishing in that something that reads like a bizzare work of fiction is in fact true. It is hard to believe that people could or would live in subway tunnels. but Toth's reporting is compelling. My one complaint is that she didn't do much to research the architetural aspects of sub-surface NYC. I suspect she would have done much to silence her critics if she had mapped her travels and compared them to available blue-prints.

Journal Entry 2 by msjoanna from Columbia, Missouri USA on Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Mailed to HoserLauren, who picked it from the Nonfiction Swap at Book Obsessed. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Thursday, March 22, 2007
I received this book and a very nice note today from MsJoanna! We ended up trading books in the non-fiction swap. It sounds like you enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed the one I will be sending you!!

Thanks for sending this along! It looks great!

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, April 18, 2007
This book is subtitled "Life in the Tunnels Beneath New York City" and depicts exactly that. Toth describes how communities have popped up in the tunnels beneath New York City and are thriving. The homeless that end up below the city are scared of being above ground because of how rough homeless shelters are. This kind of stuff is kept out of the media, I guess for fear of damaging the reputation of the city, but it makes me wonder how many other cities in North America have the same situation. It's quite sad that homeless people feel that they have no where to turn for help. Yes, some of them are dangerous people, but as Toth describes, a good number of those she interviewed have had jobs (or are even currently holding them). Some even have university degrees.
The writing of the book was pretty bad. There wasn't much flow, Toth was all over the place in her descriptions. She would make references to people she hadn't yet described. And she would switch between stories of the homeless, and policy on the homeless. This detracted a bit from the book, but the overall picture makes quite an impact.

Reserved for aceofhearts, then cathesput.

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, April 25, 2007
This book is now with me

Journal Entry 6 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Saturday, April 28, 2007
This book depicts how the homeless have set up communities underground in the tunnels of NYC. It was very interesting how the people live and interact and the reasons behind why they are underground. I found the writing quite disjoint and wonder if as much time was spend in organizing as research that it might have been a much better book. The reasearch done was obviously extensive.
The main reason people were living in the tunnels was the dangerous situation of the homeless shelters. One wonders if that is the case that the community and the police have not done something. The other reason stated is that these are people who just do not wish to live by rules. That makes sense but what a state to live in. I think that probably these same communities exist in Toronto as there are abandoned tunnels here also.
Toth stated at the end that she never 'snitched'. How could she not when confronted with the children existing in these conditions?

Journal Entry 7 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Saturday, May 12, 2007
I sent this off to cathesput in Egypt today as part of the Raiding Bookshelves Swap. It was the 2nd last day for international surface mail in the USA so I got a deal!!

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